Location of Gunshot Residue an Interesting Aspect in Murder Case

People of the State of Illinois v. Lewis Bell, No. 10 CR 14482 (March 16, 2016).

In August 2010, defendant Lewis Bell was tried and convicted for the first-degree murder of Spurgeon Jackson. During the trial, the defense put forth the theory that the defendant was misidentified as the shooter and that the actual shooter was another who was in the same car as Bell at the time, Yadonna Gailey. The second part of this theory was supported by the results of the gunshot residue (GSR) tests that were performed. These results showed that there was GSR present on Gailey’s right hand, but not her left. These results contradicted the theory of the prosecutors, which would have made GSR present on Gailey’s left hand more so than her right, if the events had occurred as Gailey claimed they had. Nevertheless, the jury rejected the theory of the defense and sentenced Bell to 80 years in prison. In 2016, an appeal was filed for Bell to receive a new trial. Bell’s defense counsel was shown to be inefficient by calling a witness that directly identified Bell as the shooter. This deficiency is believed to have prejudiced the jury’s decision, and so the decision has been reversed so that a new trial may be conducted with a proper defense attorney. This new trial has yet to begin.

2016 IL App (1st) 133297-U; 2016 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 609. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/17.

Forensic Summary by Kenneth Ujevich

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